While I struggle with Lucious as a whole, his interactions with Cookie tonight were so genuine that I almost forgot about all the terrible things he's done so far. Almost.
Aside from the great Lucious/Cookie scenes, there was plenty to like this week, as this show just keeps churning out great episode after great episode. It's seriously one of the most entertaining shows out there.
The main goal for Lucious right now is to continue keeping Empire relevant ahead of the IPO. He's all over Hakeem to make more music and get his name out there, but he's also looking at other artists who may be able to help the label.
Titan is the biggest rapper around in the Empire universe. The modern day Tupac, Titan is what Lucious needs and wants.
Anika: We need somebody like Titan.
Lucious: I don't want someone like Titan. The Empire wants Titan. Bring him here.
After a shooting lands Titan in jail and his label does nothing to help him, Lucious sees this as the opportunity to go after him. He and Anika go to visit Titan's manager at a shady bar and they're the victims of a drive by shooting.
If this isn't enough to scare them off, Cookie reveals that Titan is a member of the Nation of Islam. This is a little fact that hits close to home for Mr. Lyon.
The Nation killed your father.Cookie [to Lucious]
After accruing this knowledge, Lucious is ready to give up on Titan but then Judd Nelson shows up and everything goes to hell.
Judd Nelson is Baretti, otherwise known as the man who helped Lucious Lyon become Lucious Lyon. He's also the man Lucious believes stole his music and is still capitalizing off it to this day.
Their meeting is contentious and full of of little barbs meant to unnerve the other one. There's a lot of history between these two men and with Lucious eventually getting Titan on his side, it's pretty much a given that Baretti will be back.
But will he make good on his promise to bring the Empire down? I'm sure he's going to try.
All of this Titan business led to some awesome scenes between Lucious and Cookie and A LOT of flirting. I'm just going to go ahead and say it, I didn't hate it. The two of them have a natural chemistry and it was on full display tonight.
Lucious: You know something, you and I always made a real good team.
Cookie: You damn right we did. I make you better. Don't you forget that.
Lucious: Thank you, baby.
Cookie: Baby? You might want to clear that with Anika.
Lucious: Okay, baby mama.
Cookie: Still crazy, Lucious.
Oh man, I was so feeling that scene.
Elsewhere, there wasn't much movement on the race to run Empire. Hakeem is still all over the place and when he's not paired with Jamal, I don't know what to make of him.
His difficult relationship with Cookie gives him some shading, but the Camilla affair and Takeem aren't doing him any favors. Kid has mommy issues, that's a given, but I need more than the immature, bratty kid we see week in and week out.
Jamal stuck to his guns and he and Michael moved to a seedy neighborhood. Apparently, the move has left him struggling to write and he has to channel his inner 8 Mile Eminem to really get the juices flowing.
I love me some Jamal, but I could have done without that mini Stomp montage. But if it means Jamal will be singing again soon, then I guess it was worth it.
Very little Andre tonight, but what we did see was intriguing. It turns out Andre has been protecting Lucious his whole life. He did it tonight when he vouched for Lucious's whereabouts the night of Bunkie's murder.
Now did Andre just sense that his dad was lying? Or does he know?
I guess we'll be waiting to find that out.
- Cookie was firing on all cylinders tonight. Whether she was meeting with Titan's mom or getting in Anika's face, she continues to own this show.
- Lucious told Anika he has ALS. She looked genuinely devastated and watching her shave him was a legitimately sad scene. There are a lot of Anika haters out there (for good reason) but weren't we all a little affected by that scene?
- Becky had some things to do tonight and it looks like she will be shadowing Lucious as he brings Titan onto the label. Go Becky!
- Vernon had at least 12 lines of dialogue tonight. Baby steps people!
- Song of the week? That little song Lucious and Andre sang in the flashback was all kinds of adorable. I wanted them to keep going!
- Most likely to take over the Empire? I'm giving it back to Andre. Covering up your dad's crimes has to count for something, right?!?!
Now let me know what you thought of this week's installment! Were you feeling the Lucious/Cookie tension? Are you liking Hakeem or do you want to see more? Will Baretti bring Lucious down?
Love reading your comments, so leave me one and let's discuss everything. Remember you can watch Empire online anytime!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.